My thoughts on “GO TO THE BEDS”, the self-titled debut album from GO TO THE BEDS.
Release Date: July 22nd 2020
2. I don’t say sentiment
3. Don’t go to the bed
4. GO TO THE BEDS is my life
6. SCREWY DANCER
8. Where are you?
If you’ve been following the site for the past year or two then you’ll know that my interest/enjoyment of all things WACK related has been pretty all over the place. Things were definitely getting back on track at the start of 2020 but then COVID happened and when you’re on a major label you kinda get the luxury of sitting something like that out. Now, several months on, it seems like the WACK juggernaut is about to wake from its slumber.
I can’t claim to really understand or to have followed the former GANG PARADE after the group was split in half to form both PARADISES as well as the subject of today’s review GO TO THE BEDS. I still keep up with the music but the day to day happenings in the WACK camp aren’t something I can claim to know much about these days. I don’t seem to be the only one though as I’ve noticed that interest in all of the groups has waned on social media of late. Everything goes in cycles I guess.
“GO TO THE BEDS” is the self-titled debut album from GO TO THE BEDS, and features some rather…interesting cover art by Hideyuki Tanaka. It’s also comprised almost entirely of new songs, so there’s going to be a lot to talk about here that’s for sure. I did end up enjoying the GO TO THE BEDS side of the split “G/P” EP that the groups released earlier in the year (review here) but wasn’t really sure where things were going to go next, because this is a WACK group after all. Still, hopefully there’s a few fun songs contained within and there’s a lot to write about here so let’s cut to the chase and get going.
Things get under way with opening track “Ikanakucha” which opens on a rather bright sounding instrumental with piano and some sparkling synthesizer being the main takeaways initially. Vocals are introduced into the mix fairly suddenly and it’s that very familiar GANG PARADE sound because I guess technically most of the former’s more distinct vocalists did end up jumping over to this project. It definitely has that optimistic, Ballad sort of vibe to it or at least that’s how I’m reading it anyway. There’s a bit of a kick added to things by way of some Chill-Hop style flows and a bit more oomph to the bass and then we’re racing away into the first chorus of the track…kinda. There’s a lot of purely instrumental parts to this song, so if you’re down with the sort of futuristic, anime opening style they’ve got going on once the song is up and running then you’re going to be able to hear plenty of that without much in the way of vocals to spoil things. It’s definitely an interesting take on an Idol song, foregoing much of the singing like they have here and instead having the members chime in occasionally while the instrumental is the star of the show. It’s a really enjoyable listen but I feel like I want a lot more singing from my Idol song than we got here.
Following on from that bit of instrumentalist self-indulgence we have the rather nonsensically titled “I don’t say sentiment”. It’s a fairly short track by WACK standards at just over 2 and a half minutes, so before hitting play I was figuring this wasn’t going to be some epic orchestral, emotionally charged, Ballad, etc. Indeed, this is a pretty attitude laced, punchy Rock number with a nice rhythm being set by the track’s main guitar riff and accentuated further by a pounding beat and a few higher pitched licks which add a bit more of a snarl to the track. The vocals have a bit of a distortion-y thing going on, sounding like they’re coming in over an old radio at times but you know what it works for this style of song I think. There’s a bit of a BILLIE IDLE feel to it all, especially the way the lyrics are structure for the song’s chorus and even more so the style in which it’s being presented in. The further we get into the track and the more the instrumentals once again take the spotlight, with several rather cool guitar solos adding to the chaos of everything that’s already unfolding in our ears. Not quite as bad as on the previous track though and to be fair this is a fairly short track with only a couple of verses and a chorus that get repeated a few times over the couple minutes that it’s with us for. Much more my thing both in terms of style and presentation, though they could have backed off the vocal distortion a little bit I think.
Next up is the only track from this release that isn’t brand new I believe. “Don’t go to the bed” originally featured on the “G/P” split EP that I mentioned earlier and if you’d like to read my thoughts on that release then you can do so right here. It was everyone’s first introduction to this new group I would imagine and they certainly made quite the impression with the Industrial style instrumental that got this track going. Pounding drums, distorted guitar, screaming synths and all that fun stuff make for quite the intense opening salvo. The vocals are doing their part to contribute to the intensity too, though they do switch into a slightly less in your face but still rapid tempo Rap style after a while. The choruses are more the typical Matsukuma Kenta style, very melodic and emotional vocals with the instrumental taking a bit of a backseat and mainly just keeping things ticking over for the most part. I wouldn’t have minded something a bit more complex in that regard but this time the vocals are definitely supposed to be the stars of the show. It’s a fairly straightforward track as far as structuring goes, with a couple of run throughs of the verses sandwiching a couple of choruses before we get a cool breakdown to bridge us into the last section of the track then things get snuffed out and we move swiftly on. It’s a fun, stompy track to thrash around to folks so if that’s what you’re looking for then you’ll definitely like this one.
There’s a bit of mixed messaging going on here, as we were just told not to go to the bed but now “GO TO THE BEDS is my life” apparently. I dunno man, between this and the wide range of genres we’ve heard so far I’m having a hard time keeping up here. We’re back to a more Electronic style of instrumental on this one with some pretty deep bass being incorporated with a synthesizer melody that’s getting hammered with distortion from all sides. It’s still pretty catchy stuff though and kinda foreshadows things to come. The vocals have this sort of 80s Rock style to their delivery as well as the personality behind them which makes for a nice compliment to the fairly hard hitting instrumental that slowly takes shape over time. The lyrics are pretty snappy and bounce along with the beat in a pleasing manner. Definitely a lot of personality in play here. The chorus kinda flips back to that safe WACK style but not fully to be fair, though the instrumental is a bit “brick-walled” I believe the kids call it these days. Yeah, lots of distortion and general chaos abound but sure why not I guess. I definitely prefer what they’re doing with the verses, and I’ll leave it at that. On the whole I really dig the personality and the energy that this song is bringing to us and the delivery of the English lines in the chorus is kinda amusing too. A song that tries to be serious while also trying to have a bit of fun at the same time.
It wouldn’t be a WACK release without some creative bending of intellectual property law, so on that note along comes track 5 “Papparapa”. Hopefully some of you guys also made that admittedly totally unintended connection in your brains. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this track but Punk Rock wouldn’t have been very high on my list of guesses I must admit. You’re maybe not quite getting it from the initial instrumental but once the vocals come in the song definitely takes on a much stronger Punk attitude. The fairly typical megaphone effect is in full force here and we’re treated to some shouty lyrics that have quite a few swear words sprinkled in which I thought was interesting to note. The instrumental takes on this chuggy rhythm and has a nice amount of crunch to the guitars, though the drums do feel a little bit on the hollow side given everything else that’s going on but that might just be me. Unfortunately the chorus is the trademark WACK Ballad style which is very disappointing to me but I suppose I should have seen it coming so I’ll take the blame for setting my expectations higher than they should have been here I guess. Outside of that though I really enjoyed what they did here, the verses have a ton of personality to them and the riffs are really cool sounding and fun to listen to. Kind of a shame but I’ve heard worse out of WACK in recent years so this one easily gets a pass from me.
We hit the half way mark on the album and mark it with “SCREWY DANCER”. A song with a title that I probably chuckled at a bit more than would reasonably be appropriate but it’s just kinda fun to say. The song itself definitely doesn’t start out sounding very fun though, coming across like something you’d hear out of a Nu-Metal band in the late 90s with a pretty dense and foreboding instrumental that’s a very interesting mix of dense drums and twangy guitar riffs. The vocals are also playing into this very well with a pretty low tension performance that doesn’t sound like it would be good on paper but it really does add to that heavy atmosphere being created. There’s a bit of Rap sprinkled in along the way as we build to the first chorus, an emotive Ballad type of a thing which lightens the instrumental just enough to let the vocals loose while still trying to hold onto the elements that got it to the dance in the first place. It’s pretty solid stuff with some great vocal performances but it’s not really going to wow you with something you haven’t heard before. From there we go back to square one to build back up again for another go around at the chorus later in the track. Simple but effective when executed like it has been here and the soaring crescendo that closes out the track is a pretty epic moment I must admit. I kinda dig it in a weird sort of way.
We’re back into that twangy, Rock style instrumental for the album’s seventh track “MISSING” and I’m kinda liking this adoption of the main element of BILLIE IDLE’s former sound that I enjoyed the most. It’s a little bit more subdued in this instance but the rhythms are still there and are making for a pretty fun listen. Vocally things are a bit more on the melancholic side I suppose, with the members of GO TO THE BEDS almost sighing out some of their lines during the song’s opening few verses. Bit of a weird contrast but it does work out pretty well in a weird sort of way. They really turn on the emotion for the song’s chorus however, once again taking on that familiar and pretty safe WACK style of emotionally charged lines being powerfully delivered in an almost heart wrenching way. It all definitely comes across as being a bit of a statement maker which is what a chorus should be in my opinion, though when you go back to the well as much as these groups do on this style it does present an interesting conundrum to some longtime fans who have heard quite a lot of this sort of thing before. We then get a second run of all of this before bridging into the final part of the song which sees soaring melodies paired with a pretty intense instrumental performance to close things out on a very emotional and highly charged note. This is what WACK does and they sure do do it well, for better or worse.
We go from “MISSING” to asking “Where are you?” in a bit of song title interplay that tickled me for whatever reason. I dunno, it’s the little things I guess. Bit of a different tone to open this one, with a lot of synthesizers imitating more traditional instruments like flutes, pianos and what have you to create a pretty relaxing atmosphere for the listener. The vocals unsurprisingly match the energy in the room when they’re introduced, coming in very clear and natural sounding in what I and most people out there would probably describe as a Ballad style of presentation. Then suddenly there’s a build up of sorts and my ears were almost blown off as the chorus cranks the track’s volume to 11 from about a 4, a rather abrupt shift in audio levels that I don’t particularly appreciate that much but we move on. The instrumental is kinda blown out as a result but there’s still some nice piano in there somewhere and the beat is pleasant if not also rather inoffensive. The vocals cut through just fine though thankfully, in large part thanks to yet another powerful and emotion laden performance. I get that I’m kinda repeating myself here but there’s only so many ways you can describe this sort of thing at the end of the day. Much like the previous track and many others on this release, we get another go around of the verses, into another deafening chorus before crescendoing into the end of the track via a rather cool guitar solo that serves as the bridge. Solid stuff but not something I’d write home about myself.
I can’t help but start to think that there have been quite a lot of rather dark sounding instrumentals on this album as the roiling synthesizer and drum machine composition that opens “EGOIST” starts to slowly build itself up. Another all too quick transition sees thing shift into a very shouty and chaotic sounding affair which is also something I feel like I’ve heard a decent amount of out of this release too. I do rather like the underlying synthesizer melody on this track though, as it weaves its way in and out of everything else that’s unfolding around it. We then mellow out once again for a bit more actual singing which I’m glad of as these girls can all really sing, so let us hear it even in these wilder mixes where there’s obviously the temptation to just let things go crazy and unrestrained a lot of the time. The intense, repetitive beat underpinning this section does get a little tiring after a while though I must admit. The chorus is kind of a mix of both styles I guess? Melodic vocals on top of a more fast and loose instrumental which works just fine but it does feel like a bit of a step down given what we’d heard earlier in the track. Speaking of which, that chaotic segment doesn’t seem to happen again now that I think about it which makes its inclusion rather odd in the first place. I’m not trying to say they bait and switched us but they kinda did honestly. There’s some pretty cool synth stuff happening throughout at least and the density of the composition does present the ears with something a little bit different but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s a fine track but in the end I think they played it too safe, which isn’t something I thought I would be typing after the first minute or so.
We bring the energy and tension in the room down significantly at the start of the album’s 10th track “ROOM” with a soft beat and some bright but calming synthesizers acting as a means of clearing the air some after the track that came just before. The vocals are done in the same clean, natural sounding style that we’ve heard in several instances already on this release and strike a self-reflecting sort of tone to how they’re being sung. We then go through a fairly subtle and slow build up as the the instrumental starts to lift the song up a bit more and more and the vocals get increasingly more emotional in their delivery as things go along too. It all makes for a pleasant listen but I don’t think anyone is going to be coming away from this thinking “Wow, that was really something unique that I’d never heard before” if you get where I’m coming from. The chorus is a bit more of a standout though, bringing in this pounding EDM style beat to set the pace for the vocals and some mildly distorted synthesizers to give us some nice rhythms and flows to vibe to. I kinda feel like the instrumental is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here but it does compliment the slower tempo and slightly lower energy of the vocals quite nicely in an odd sort of way. Kinda the story of the track and I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot here but at least in this instance the instrumental took on a bit of a different dynamic later on with the addition of some flutes and what have you, which can be heard most prominently in the lead-in and throughout the track’s extended bridge. Safe, solid stuff that should have a pretty wide appeal I would imagine.
I don’t know about you guys, but if an artist goes out of their way to title their song “GROOVE” then I have some pretty high expectations that it’s going to be a fairly groovy affair. Well, after a somewhat eccentric sounding start that’s about where we end up on the album’s penultimate track. We get a sort of Spoken Word, Rap type of vocal which kind reminds me at times of the stuff a lot of UK MCs have been doing for the past however long, so that was kinda cool to hear for me personally. The beat is a little bit on the simplistic side I suppose but it’s out there doing the job that it needs to be doing so it’s not the end of the world by any means. The chorus sees a bit of a tempo increase along with some “actual singing” as I’m sure some people would probably say. Still very mid-tempo, kinda lazy vibe stuff though so don’t go looking for this massive and abrupt change in tone or direction here folks. They do kinda bring it all together though for the final minute of the track and the results are some really nice melodies that are underpinned by the steadying hand of the spoken word parts. I have to say that for my money the verses are the more interesting component of the track as the chorus just sort of falls into that safe style that seems to be a bit of a crutch for this release at this point if I’m being honest. Still, an interesting take on a couple of musical styles that you don’t hear too often in the Idol sphere.
And so we come to the end of the album with the nefariously titled closing track “VILLAIN” playing us out on what has been a release that has been an interesting mix of the old and the new. I’m not really sure what I was expecting out of the last track on this release but I wouldn’t say that acoustic-y Ballad was very high on the list, if it was even a potential candidate in my mind in the first place. That’s what we’ve got here though folks and as someone who has grown quite partial to this acoustic guitar, singer-songwriter stuff as I’ve advanced in years I must say that I really did enjoy this one. Okay sure, they didn’t have to accent some of the vocals with reverb but nobody’s perfect I suppose and the bombastic synthesizer laden chorus kinda came out of left field a bit but it made for a pretty nice party atmosphere for a stretch or two of the track, so looking on the bright side and all that. Really nice vocal performances from all of the members up and down the song too by the way, nice pure and warmhearted stuff which is kind of what you need a little bit of in times like these. They know when to turn it up too, with a soaring and very emotive rendition of the chorus bringing us into the final stretch where we return to a simpler time and some acoustic guitar plays us out into what sounds like a field recording from a beach somewhere. A nice note to end things off on.
“GO TO THE BEDS” is a interesting release in that while it does seek to bring some new ideas to the table there are still an abundance of WACKisms being put into it too. There’s something to be said of playing to your performers’ strengths as vocalists but there’s quite a few track on here where things seem to be being used more as a crutch than anything else in my opinion. The results are still enjoyable but I feel like there’s a bit of a missed opportunity to give everything a fresh start.
If you’re a WACK fan, GANG PARADE fan, etc then this should be a fairly easy transition for you…well, unless your favorite member ended up in PARADISES or something. Lots of familiarity here which is good or bad depending on your outlook. I’m personally hoping that PARADISES are bringing something a bit different to the table and I’m about to find out real soon here as my review for that album should be dropping in a few days. Look forward to it when the time comes!